CLIENT: General Public Voyage
VOYAGE NUMBER: 20231015
FROM: Coffs Harbour To: Manly
DATE: 16 October 2023
REPORT: Red Watch
We woke this morning in harbour at Iluka. Over coffee the night watches recounted the phosphorus below, the dolphins along midships and the clear, brisk starry host arrayed above. The cloudless night withdrew respectfully, giving wide berth as the warm heat bustled in quickly, waiting for no-one. Day 2 had arrived.
After a full breakfast we weighed anchor and set sail not out, but up, the mighty Clarence River. With nary a whisper of wind we cruised up and around the islets under engine power, avoiding shallows and assessing the newly built mansions with their clawfoot bathtubs on the foreshore.
The 3 watches quickly got about setting all sails anyway. The skipper sweated the soundings. The whole crew waited in hope, for the wind to arrive on the broad shoulders of the heat, as it stalked the treelines and settled, somewhat uneasy, over the body of the river. She had her own views about temperature, which the locals and South Passage adventurers respected by avoiding any unnecessary swimming.
Young men, Joshua and Will took the helm in turn, from skipper Jim, elbowing out the middle-aged men and women for the thrill of feeling the wind filling the sails and taking up the burden.
A massive Ex-Australian Navy survey vessel, formerly ‘the Flinders’ but now ‘Plan B’, sat heavy in the waterline near the old counter-balance lift bridge. We dropped anchor in the shadows of the new bridge. Old mate and his 80 year-old dad in a crabpot tinny kindly offered to ferry us in after lunch to the Harwood Hotel, nestled snug and tempting just on the other side of the bridges. A beer or three later, and young Warwick ferried us all back to our Ark.
Again we set sails, and this time we sailed, good and proper, as the wind picked up. South Passage found her confidence and kicked up her heels, laying over on her beam. After a full day out on the river, we returned to her mouth, dropping anchor just in time to enjoy the sun as he set, spent, this time on the Yamba side.
Day 3 beckons.